Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Lost Soul of Democrats

Well I've been searching for it for a long time - some forty odd years... Yes, we lost the election - but why? Now, if you allow me to indulge myself, I think I may be able to shed some light on some new reasons, and maybe point a way to recover our soul, and possibly even find a little new democratic integrity. As a child growing up in the fifties, I saw a very different world of Democrats than what I see today. And, sad to say, that difference today is not a good difference. My childhood memories contain visions of many very strong conservative Democrats, dispersed with a small number of liberal Democrats. Today, of course, that vision has been turned on its head. Now, is this the problem or not?

After researching, writing, participating in N.G.O.'s, and joining many academic/intellectual groups, I find a very disturbing trend. These groups are almost identical twins to the political culture at large. By this I mean the small ideas, in these groups as well as across the nation, are drowning out the large ideas, that usually support the small ideas. The populist left, populist liberals, and the populist centrist Democrat's small ideas are drowning out the necessary, conservative Democrat's large ideas. Now, the way I learned this story was that, logic dictates the large is more important than the small ideas, yet we just witnessed an election where our candidate had not one large idea or any semblance of a grand strategy, such as existed in the past - especially in such examples as Washington/Hamilton, Lincoln, and F.D.R. What is the reason for this? Have the Republicans set the agenda for the Democrats? Have the Democrats become blind to the fact that a conservative raft is necessary to lift the small ideas from the bottom of the deep well of arguement and confusion they have fallen into? Don't the Democrats see the sovereignty of the individual is being exploited, all over the world, by free markets and weak central governments, just as the neo-cons want it?

Historically and empirically, if we look back to better days we find our leaders realized democracy was, often times, too weak to stand on its own legs without the support of a strong central government. Hamilton/Washington, Lincoln, and F.D.R. all full well knew this and made the best out of a bad situation, and the country was greatly rewarded all three times. I mention these three incidents as they represent the greatest achievements in American political history. People may argue, but I think they'd be hard pressed to prop up other eras of greatness. Now this may go against the modern era's thinking, but the facts speak for themselves. Each era was marked by weak democracy being supported and saved by strong conservative government's new and revolutionary action. The easiest one for us to understand, of course, is F.D.R.'s New Deal, with its many liberal and conservative ideas being instituted. I simply argue that without his large and revolutionary conservative political and economic policies instituted, the smaller liberal policies would never have had a chance of survival. It always takes large political and economic reforms to support and fund the smaller, yet necessary as well, liberal ideas. I believe if we realize this, develop and re-enter the large conservative reforms and grand strategies necessary to fund our smaller liberal desires, we can recover a bit of the Democratic soul, and its lost integrity - and possibly win future elections - again.

If we can see great ideas, we can achieve greatness - again!

L.A. Gillespie


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